I am participating in an Ambassador Program on behalf of Influence Central for Anheuser-Busch’s Family Talk About Drinking Program. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation. All opinions are my own.
Children are naturally inquisitive creatures. They ask an assortment of questions ranging from ‘why is the sky blue’ to ‘why do farts smell’. Yes, I have a boy…..I’m not sure girls ask as many questions about bodily functions as boys do! As kids get older, they start asking harder questions. ‘How are babies made’ and ‘Why do the other kids pick on me?’. As parents, we need to learn to give educated, thoughtful and meaningful answers to the questions our children ask us. However, there are some questions that they will never ask. THOSE are the questions that we must address before the situation arises where they need the answers. Underage drinking is a topic that few teens will approach their parents about. However, I encourage you to approach the topic of underage drinking with them, regardless of whether or not they ask about it. I know…talking about underage drinking with your teens can be awkward so we put it off. That could very well lead to tragic consequences. If you would like to talk to your teens about underage drinking, I am sharing a few tips that might come in handy as part of my Anheuser-Busch’s Family Talk About Drinking Program Ambassadorship.
How to Talk to Teens About Underage Drinking
1. Find the right time to talk: I suggest you pick a time when you don’t have to look them in the eye. This may seem like odd advice but as the parent of two teens, I can tell you that they tend to be much more open when mom isn’t staring right at them. Talk to them in the car or while you are stirring a pot on the stove.
2. Try not to be confrontational: Do not interrogate them. Demanding to know whether or not they have already tried alcohol will not get them to open up to you. Ask open ended questions and ask them their opinions. Teens are not children any more, even though they aren’t quite adults yet, either. Discuss underage drinking without being accusatory.
3. Keep an open mind: This may not be a popular opinion but try not to paint alcohol itself as ‘bad’ or something they should never in their lives try. Regardless of your own feelings about alcohol, keep in mind that they are unique individuals and will have to form their own opinions. Explain to them why UNDERAGE drinking is wrong, illegal, and not a good life choice. Tell them your personal feelings about alcohol in general. But, forcing teens to accept your own ideals and beliefs will most likely lead to problems.
4. Be honest: While you don’t need to go into details about your own teenage shenanigans, be honest with your teens about your own experiences with underage drinking. If you lie and they find out, you will have lost ALL credibility with your teen! Gloss over the details but give them an honest account of your teen years when it comes to alcohol.
5. Set a good example: If you do choose to partake in alcohol as an adult, make sure you do it responsibly. My husband and I often finish out our day with a glass of wine. I don’t hide this from my children. We discuss alcohol with the teens, it’s effect on the body, and how to drink responsibly. If your child sees YOU drinking and driving, they won’t understand why it is dangerous!
6. Keep the lines of communication open: Check out my post about keeping the lines of communication open with your teens. It is important that you touch base with each other regularly about ALL topics, not just underage drinking! They may not always WANT to talk to us, but teenagers still need our guidance and advice, even if they hate to admit it!
Anheuser-Busch Family Talk About Drinking Program
Recent research has shown that parents have the greatest influence on a teen’s decision about drinking alcohol. It also shows that our influence on them has INCREASED over the last 20 years. Yes, our kids are listening to us MORE than we listened to our own parents! Of course, our influence on our kids changes as they grow up. Between the ages of 1 and 7, we are primarily a teacher to our children. From ages 8 to 13, we are most often a facilitator. But as they hit those teen years, we are their coach. Each phase is unique and has it’s own challenges. For more than 20 years, Anheuser-Busch has shared the Family Talk About Drinking Program with parents to help provide them with tips on having an open dialog about alcohol with their children of all ages.
As we move into prom and graduation season, make sure you keep your ‘coach’ duties in mind. ‘Coach’ your kids about how to deal with situations where they may be presented with alcohol. The Anheuser-Busch Family Talk About Drinking Program (FTAD) website features tips and suggestions from certified educator and parent coach MJ Corcoran on how to talk to your kids about underage drinking. She encourages you to keep those lines of communication open, make time for discussion ahead of time, and make sure you make your teens accountable for their actions. Discuss your expectations ahead of time and make sure they understand ALL the possible consequences of their choices. Underage drinking isn’t an easy topic to discuss with our teens but NOT discussing it may lead to horrible consequences!
Have you talked to YOUR teens about underage drinking? Now’s Your Chance!
Anheuser-Busch wants to provide one of my readers with a $25 gift card so that you and your teen can spend some quality time together. This is a Giveaway Tools Contest so follow the directions in the form below to enter to win!
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